Owning a pet is an exciting and happy privilege that people of all ages get to experience. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, a rabbit, or even a bird, pets provide their owners with joy and comfort. However, owning a pet can get even better with age as you or a loved one will have more time to care for a pet in your retirement years than ever before.
In addition to having more time to take care of a pet, having a pet as a senior also has many other benefits.
Why is it Important for Seniors to Own Pets?
It’s important for seniors to own pets for a number of reasons, in fact, it’s so important for seniors to own pets that most retirement communities allow seniors to bring their pets along when they relocate. In fact, a retirement community in PA finds it so important for seniors to have pets, they promote that they bring them to their new home.
Pets provide many physical, mental, and emotional benefits for seniors; a study was done by the Mayo Clinic even stated that owning a dog can promote a heart-healthy life for an elderly person. Keeping all of this in mind, here are the top 5 benefits of owning pets for seniors:
They Will Provide a Sense of Purpose
As people age, it’s common that they lose contact with friends and family members, or that friends and family pass away due to age. This melancholy fact of life can often leave seniors feeling empty and lacking a sense of purpose in life, ultimately leading to anxiety and depression. Owning a pet can combat these emotions.
Pets will provide a sense of purpose for seniors because not only will they be in constant contact with another living being, they will also have a reason to get up every morning and do things to provide a good life for their pet.
Some seniors that are dealing with the loss of friends and family find it hard to get out of bed in the morning and complete everyday life tasks. However, a pet will give seniors a reason to carry on with their life by having something to take care of.
They Will Promote Physical Activity
Most pets, especially dogs, will provide seniors with physical activity in their retirement years. Small tasks such as playing with, feeding, and cleaning an animal/ an animal’s cage will get seniors up and moving, giving them a reason to stay active.
Dogs especially are great for seniors since they require to be walked and need ample amount of playtime.
Pets Can Lower Stress and Blood Pressure
Pets have been proven to lower stress and blood pressure- one of the main reasons that pets are often used as emotional support animals. Great for lowering stress and blood pressure in people of all ages, this benefit is especially important for seniors as their heart and blood pressure are at a higher risk of causing detrimental issues.
Research shows that simply being in the presence of an animal can lower stress levels significantly.
Pets Can Provide Entertainment
Seniors often do not have as much of social life as they did in their younger years, this is mostly attributed to the fact that they can not move around as much as they used to. Due to their lack of social life, seniors often do not have many options for entertainment; therefore a pet may be a great solution.
Pets, big or small, can provide entertainment for seniors because they give them something to do and look forward to. Whether it be walking a dog, or playing with a rabbit or cat, seniors will have something to do that is mentally stimulating. A pet can provide endless hours of entertainment.
Perhaps the most important benefit that owning a pet has for seniors is the companionship that they will provide. All pets provide some level of love, comfort, and affection to people, especially seniors. Whether a senior is lonely after losing a spouse, or if a senior simply are looking for something exciting to incorporate into his or her life, a pet is a great solution that will provide years of happiness and furry companionship.
Find the Pet That is Right For You
If you are a senior that is looking to adopt a pet, keep these benefits in mind. Depending on your living situation, one type of pet may be easier to care for than another. Take into consideration where you are living, who you are living with, and your physical capabilities as you consider what type of pet is right for you. No matter the pet you chose, you are guaranteed to have years of joy and daily affection.
About the Author
Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about things that can help others. She lives in South Jersey and is the proud companion to two German Shepherds and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.